C-USA Football Game Previews - Week Ten
Nov. 2, 2010
A pair of Conference USA division leaders will meet on Friday night to open a big week of action as the final month of the regular season gets underway. East Division leader UCF, the only team without a loss in league play, travels to West Division co-leader Houston (7 p.m. CDT, ESPN 2). At least one of these teams has participated in four of the first five C-USA Football Championship games. Houston's Patrick Edwards enters the game having scored a touchdown in four straight games and has 639 yards and eight scores on the season. UCF's Ronnie Weaver is averaging 108.3 yards per game and has 10 TD's over the last six contests. The Cougars are rolling up an average of 468 total yards of offense a game and are averaging 41.6 points per contest, which ranks eighth nationally. The Knights' defense leads C-USA in all five major defensive categories, and also ranks in the top 15 nationally in each, including rushing (13th), passing (15th), total defense (ninth), passing efficiency (12th) and scoring defense (11th). Joe Tessitore and Rod Gilmore will be on the call from Robertson Stadium.
A pair of important West Division battles are on the docket for Saturday, as SMU visits UTEP and Rice goes to Tulsa. The winner of the Mustangs-Miners matchup earns bowl-eligibility, as quarterbacks Kyle Padron (league-high 22 passing touchdowns) and Trevor Vittatoe (C-USA's active leader in passing yards and TD's) duel. Time Warner Texas will air the game live throughout the state with Jon Teicher, Bernie Ricono and Jeff Limberg announcing. Tulsa is also aiming for bowl-eligibility as it looks to build on its exciting win at Notre Dame last Saturday. Golden Hurricane junior Damaris Johnson is eighth in the nation in all-purpose yards and is just 21 yards away from becoming C-USA's all-time leader in kickoff return yardage. Owls sophomore Sam McGuffie is one of two running backs in the country to have rushed for over 350 yards and caught passes for at least 250 yards this year.
East Division rivals Marshall and UAB are both coming off close victories last week and will meet in Birmingham on Saturday afternoon (3 p.m. CDT on CSS). Both teams won last week thanks to career-best rushing performances. Freshman Tron Martinez provided it for the Thundering Herd, gaining 116 yards with one touchdown, while Pat Shed piled up 176 yards and two scores for the Blazers. Matt Stewart and Chuck Oliver will be announcing from Legion Field.
Longtime rivals Southern Miss and Tulane will meet at the Louisiana Superdome Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CDT. One more win will make the Golden Eagles bowl-eligible for the 18th consecutive season. Southern Miss junior WR Kelvin Bolden is red hot, catching 18 passes for 286 yards the past two games. Tulane freshman RB Orleans Darkwa has run for more than 100 yards the last two weeks, including a career-best 193 vs. SMU last Saturday.
East Carolina plays its final non-conference game of the season when it hosts Navy on Saturday. Pirates senior WR Dwayne Harris currently stands sixth nationally in receptions per game, hauling in 7.9 passes per contest and is fourth among FBS players in all-purpose yardage with a 176.5 ypg average. MASN will televise the game at 3:30 p.m. EDT with Patrick Kinas and Kevin Miller in the booth.
Memphis will host cross-state rival Tennessee Saturday night on CBS College Sports. Tigers senior RB Gregory Ray carried the ball 23 times for a career-best 176 yards and one touchdown last week. Roger Twibell and Mike Leach will call the action from Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, beginning at 7 p.m. CDT.
Conference USA produces a weekly audio football show entitled "Talking Conference USA Football," that is syndicated throughout Conference USA markets. The league also produces a daily audio update entitled "Today in Conference USA" that focuses on football as well as all C-USA sports. Bill Hazen serves as the host and producer of both programs. Both of these shows are available for download on C-USA's podcast channel: http://conferenceusa.cstv.com/podcasts/c-usa-podcasts.html